March 8, 2014
ELKO, Nev. (AP) - An ex-state lawmaker and longtime critic of U.S. land managers says he's convinced the feds have already made up their mind to list the Greater sage grouse as a threatened or endangered species.
But a Bureau of Land Management official says that's not the case and insisted at a public meeting in Elko this week they want the community's input on how best to save the troubled bird without a federal listing.
Ranchers, miners, energy developers and state officials fear restrictions on the use of public lands in sage grouse habitat would have deep economic consequences in the rural West.
Former Republican Assemblyman John Carpenter told the Elko Daily Free Press he believes the government is determined to list the chicken-sized game bird as part of a bigger strategy to lock up federal lands.